Australia Muslim Cleric Hate

Muslim imam resigns as Australian Defence Force's religious adviser after senator reveals the sheikh signed a petition supporting Islamist extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir

•    Muslim Sheikh Mohamadu Nawas Saleem quit his taxpayer-funded Defence role
•    It came after Senator Cory Bernardi raised his support for Hizb ut-Tahrir petition
•    Former Iraq war veteran Bernard Gaynor said the government was embarrassed

By Stephen Johnson For Daily Mail Australia
2 July 2017

A Muslim imam has resigned as a taxpayer-funded Australian Defence Force religious adviser after a senator told parliament he had signed a petition in favour of Islamist extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Sheikh Mohamadu Nawas Saleem quit his $717-a-day post last month, only days after Australian Conservatives Senator Cory Bernardi questioned how the government could justify employing someone who opposed democracy.

Former Iraq war veteran Bernard Gaynor, who launched a petition calling for Sheikh Saleem's removal as Defence imam, said the government was embarrassed.

'The government's been very quiet about the resignation,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Sunday.

'They've been running politically correct games with in the Defence Force and they're embarrassed by the scrutiny.'

Defence Personnel Minister Dan Tehan announced late last month Sheikh Saleem had resigned from the Religious Advisory Committee to the Services, which advises the Australian Defence Force.

His spokesman declined to detail the circumstances of the resignation in the wake of Liberal defector Senator Bernardi's speech to parliament.

Mr Tehan's short-lived predecessor Stuart Robert appointed Sheikh Saleem in June 2015 to his $717 a day role as a religious adviser.

Four months earlier, in February 2015, Sheikh Saleem added his name to a petition opposing then prime minister Tony Abbott's plan to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir in Australia.

The petition argued Hizb ut-Tahrir, which supports Sharia law and has a constitution backing the death penalty for ex-Muslims, had never committed terrorist acts in Australia.

But the group's Islamist ideology is so extreme it is banned in Germany, The Netherlands, Russia and a range of Muslim-majority nations including Indonesia Pakistan, Bangladesh and even Saudi Arabia.

Mr Tehan's media statement, published on June 23, did not condemn Sheikh Saleem's association with a petition defending Hizb ut-Tahrir.

'The government has always accepted the right of any member of the RACS to express their views according to their religious faith, but, as a matter of course, does not always agree with them,' he said.

'The government acknowledges Sheik Saleem's contribution to the RACS on behalf of his community.'

Mr Gaynor, who served as an Iraq war intelligence analyst in 2008 and 2009, said a Muslim imam who signed a petition in favour of Hizb ut-Tahrir was bound to support Sharia law.

'An imam by virtue of his appointment and position will promote Sharia law,' he said.

The war veteran ran as an Australian Liberty Alliance candidate last year and last month launched a petition calling for Sheikh Saleem's removal.

It amassed 13,000 signatures.

In May, federal Attorney-General George Brandis  rejected a call to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir, despite its recent calls for ex-Muslims to be killed and its advocacy of domestic violence.

Daily Mail Australia has been unable to contact the sheikh who is on the board of Imams Victoria.

'In their eyes the attackers are martyrs': Islamic sheikh claims Saudi Arabian team refused minute's silence for London terror victims because under Sharia law 'it's not a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-believer'

•    Muslim imam claims it is not in Saudi Arabia culture to refuse a minute's silence

•    He says the football team may believe it is 'not wrong or a sin' to kill a non-Muslim
•    It comes after the Saudi Arabia football team did not take part in the mourning
•    The team refused to stand still as stadium quietly paid tribute to terror victims

By April Glover and Hannah Moore For Daily Mail Australia

8 June 2017

An Islamic imam has suggested the Saudi Arabian team refused to take part in a minute's silence for the London terror victims because they believe 'it is not a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-believer'.

Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi says it is a 'lie' to say the Muslim culture does not remember the dead with a moment of silence, and instead argues the football team did not partake in the mourning because they stand with the jihadist men.

'They did not stop for a moment of silence because according to Wahhabi Islam - which governs Saudi Arabia - it is not wrong or a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-Muslim,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'Their response suggests that within Muslim culture they don't remember the dead with a moment of silence. This is a lie.'

Sheikh Tawhidi says under Islam Sharia law it is not 'wrong' or a 'sin' for a Muslim to kill a non-Muslim.

'In their eyes the attackers are martyrs who are going to paradise. And if they stand for a minute of silence they are against their Muslim brothers who fought for jihad and fought the “infidels”,' he said.

Sheikh Tawidi also added the team would have been 'ridiculed' back home if they had commemorated the victims of the London terrorist attack.

But this may not be the view of every player within the Saudi team, he pointed out.

The Saudi Arabian soccer team defended its refusal to stand in silence to mourn the Australian victims of the recent terror attack at the World Cup qualifier because it is not in keeping with their culture.

A spokesman for Football Federation Australia explained they were told a minute of silence was 'not in keeping with Saudi culture' ahead of the match.

Fans were left outraged at the display ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Australia in Adelaide.

Pictures show the Australian team lined up at the halfway mark, with the Saudi players ignoring the gesture as they moved into formation to start the game.

Saudi players on the bench also refused to stand for the minute's silence.

A spokesperson from the Football Federation Australia told Daily Mail Australia they had been advised prior to the match that the Saudi team would not be taking part.

'The FFA sought agreement from the Asian Football Confederation and the Saudi national team to hold a minute’s silence in memory of those lost in Saturday night’s terror attack in London and in particular the two Australian women,' the spokesperson said.

'Both the AFC and the Saudi team agreed that the minute of silence could be held.

'The FFA was further advised by Saudi team officials that this tradition was not in keeping with Saudi culture and they would move to their side of the field and respect our custom whilst taking their own positions on the field.

'The local broadcaster, FOXSPORTS, was informed of this prior to the minute’s silence taking place.'

Australian football fans on social media were furious, and lashed out against the team.

'Minutes silence for London terror, Saudi players wandering around like they don't give a f***, Saudi fans shouting the whole time #AUSvKSA,' a man named Adam tweeted.

Others called for official measures to be taken against the team.

'I hope FFA call out Saudi Arabia on the clear lack of respect shown prior to KO. Not participating in the minutes silence is disgusting,' user PG3_12 wrote.

However, some Saudi fans claimed it was not within Islamic culture to take a moment of silence to respect the dead.

'They come from a different culture. They just don't understand the point of being silence for a minute to show sadness.. we never do it in KSA,' one fan wrote.'

The majority of the Saudi side are Muslim, and to honour the dead, it is understood they pray, give to charity and speak highly of the person, but rarely observe silence.

Minutes of silence are a common occurrence in the Premier League, and Muslim players are not known to boycott the mark of respect. 

The game added extra tension to an already important match, but Australia came out on top with a score of 3-2.

Saudi FA, FFA, FIFA and the AFC have been approached for comment.

Two Australians were killed in Saturday night's terror attack on London Bridge and nearby Borough Market.

Nanny Sara Zelenak, 21, was confirmed dead on Wednesday, after her mother flew to London to try and find her.

She had been separated from her friend on London Bridge just before the violent attack began.

Nurse Kristy Boden was also killed in the attack. She had run to help victims when she was also murdered by the terrorists.

Four Australians were caught up in the attack in total, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said.

They included Candice Hedge who is recovering in hospital after undergoing surgery after being stabbed in her neck.

Darwin electrician Andrew Morrison has travelled back to Australia after receiving stitches after he was knifed in the neck.

E-learning business owner James McMullan, 32, from Hackney in east London, was killed while he was out celebrating his first million pound deal.

Canadian Christine Archibald, 30, had died in her fiance's arms after being struck by a speeding van. She was the first victim to be named.

Frenchman Alexandre Pigeard, 27, from Colleville-Montgomery, in Normandy, was killed at the Boro Bistro restaurant where he worked.

Mr Pigeard was stabbed in the neck in front of friends, according to his manager.

French citizen Xavier Thomas is believed to have gone missing after the attack.

He is understood to have been with his girlfriend Christine Delcros when the attack took place. Ms Delcros is said to be injured in hospital.

Ignacio Echeverria, 39, used his skateboard as a weapon against a knife-wielding terrorist as he tried to save a woman from being attacked, it has been revealed.

He lived in London, but hailed from Las Rozas near Madrid.

Frenchman Sebastien Belanger has not been seen since the attack.

The three terrorists behind the attacks have been named as Rachid Redouane, Khuram Butt and Youssef Zaghba.

All three were shot dead by police within eight minutes of the first emergency call.

Islamic sheikh tells teenage girls they will go to hell for having non-Muslim friends and will be punished if they pluck their eyebrows

•    Hardline Sheik Mohamad Doar told girls they needed to avoid non-Muslims

•    He told the teenagers friendships with non-believers would see them go to hell
•    He also described eyebrow plucking as a 'major sin' which Allah would curse
•    The Saturday night forum was organised by Muslim charity Sisters United

By Stephen Johnson For Daily Mail Australia

16 April 2017

A fundamentalist male sheikh told girls at a youth night that they would go to hell if they befriended non-Muslims or plucked their eyebrows.

Sheikh Mohamad Doar told a room of teenage girls in Sydney's west they needed to stop being friends with non-believers in a lecture that also covered Islamic fashion and grooming.

'The reality is, my sisters, any friendship that is not built on the fear of Allah is only going to lead to hell fire so you need to be cautious,' he said on Saturday night.

'With your actions, you distance yourself from the corrupted people.'

Sheikh Doar, from the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah Association, told the forum, held at Punchbowl, that women would also be cursed by Allah if they plucked their eyebrows, waxed their body or shaved.

'You are not allowed the remove the hair of the eyebrow, it's a major sin,' he said.

'The lady who plucks her eyebrows and the one who gets them plucked, they're both cursed by Allah.'

He was referring to the hadith, describing the actions of the Prophet Mohammad, as part of a question and answer session organised by Muslim charity Sisters United.

Taking questions from the girls, Sheikh Doar told them they needed to wear their hijabs loose and with no bright or colourful patterns.

'It cannot be see-through showing skin. The hijab needs to be as plain as possible,' he said.

'It cannot be an imitation of the disbeliever's dress code. It cannot be attracting to the eye. It cannot resemble the dress of men. It can't be a showing-off cloth.'

He also warned them they would face criticism about their dress sense from other Muslims and kafirs, an Islamic term for non-believers.

The sheikh's advice is generally rejected by secular Muslims, who also shun sharia law.

The Sunni ASWJ's fundamentalist founder, Sheikh Feiz Muhammad, last year said it was a major sin for Muslims to attend non-Muslim events like New Year's Eve celebrations

'Is it part of the sharia? Are we allowed to entertain ourselves with celebrations that are built on non-Muslim concepts?,' he said.  

'If you go on the belief, ''I just want to join in and have the fun, you know, just have a night out, and enjoy myself but I don't believe in all this nonsense'', that's a major sin.'

Another ASWJ Islamic teacher, Abdulghani Albaf, told a male-only mosque at Auburn in March that Muslim men would be judged harshly by Allah if they used urinals.

'There are two mentionings, one that mentions when they would urinate that they would do so without, in public, without concealing, hiding themselves or hiding their private parts,' he thundered at the end of his 48-minute, Friday night sermon.

'How often do we see this today? Every public, every male public toilet now has urinals where they just stand up like animals and urinate in front of one another.

'What's worse is we even have Muslims using these urinals.'

Days after the carnage in London, this is the moment we catch a firebrand Islamist leader on camera saying all former Muslims should be put to DEATH... in Sydney on Saturday night

•    Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar confirms support for killing ex-Muslims

•    'Apostates attract capital punishment and we don't shy away from that'
•    Badar made the remarks at a public talk in Sydney's west on Saturday night 
•    The group is so extreme it is banned in Muslim-majority nations like Bangladesh
•    Men and women were segregated at the sharia law forum in Bankstown
•    The matter has now been referred to the Australian Federal Police

By Stephen Johnson For Daily Mail Australia

PUBLISHED: 27 March 2017

A leader of a hardline Islamist group which campaigns for sharia law says Muslims who leave the religion should be put to death.

Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar was frank when asked about the group's policy at a forum in Bankstown, in Sydney's south-west, on Saturday night.

'The ruling for apostates as such in Islam is clear, that apostates attract capital punishment and we don't shy away from that,' Badar said in the presence of children. An apostate is someone who decides to leave Islam.

His extraordinary admission was exclusively captured on camera by Daily Mail Australia and the matter has now been referred to the Australian Federal Police by Justice Minister Michael Keenan.

Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia removed references to that apostasy policy from its website as Alison Bevege, a freelance journalist, sued the group for making her to sit in a women's-only section at a separate talk in October 2014.

On Saturday night, Ms Bevege held up a printed copy of Hizb ut-Tahrir's draft constitution of the khilafah state published on the UK site, which was on the group's Australian website until 2015.

This outlines their vision for a global Islamic caliphate, which has Muslims and non-Muslims living under sharia law.

She asked about their policy of killing people born as Muslims who leave the faith.

Article 7c of the document said: 'Those who are guilty of apostasy (murtadd) from Islam are to be executed according to the rule of apostasy, provided they have by themselves renounced Islam.'

Badar initially responded by saying the policy wasn't on its website before explaining how the group's apostasy policy was compatible with Islam.

'The whole thing covers different aspects of Islamic sharia law,' he said.

'The role of apostasy in Islam is very clear. Again, this is one of the things the West doesn’t like and seeks to change the role of apostasy.'

A spokeswoman for Justice Minister Michael Keenan condemned language that incites or advocates violence.

'Language that incites or advocates violence is not freedom of speech,' the spokeswoman said.

'This matter has been referred to the AFP.'

Badar's remarks came after he delivered the keynote lecture for the forum, which was called 'Sharia and the modern age'.

He said Islam was incompatible with a secular separation of religion and state, democracy, individual rights and even the process of science, which he called 'scientism'.

He compared calls to fit Islam within a secular society to domesticating a wild animal, putting Hizb ut-Tahrir at odds with secular Muslims who reject sharia law.

'The West seeks to domesticate Islam, to control, to bring within, the way you domesticate animals,' he said.

Badar described calls to reform Islam from secular Muslims as 'pernicious', 'insidious' and 'dangerous' and called for radical change.

'Always when you hear these sorts of calls, alarm bells should ring,' he said.

'The Islam people are calling for fits very well within modernity. They’re giving in to the pressure to conform.'

About 100 people were at the publicly-advertised lecture with men making up about two-thirds of the audience.

Women were segregated from the men on the left-hand side of the room, apart from Ms Bevege who stood at the back.

Following the lecture, a group of men followed Daily Mail Australia to a parked car.

One older man bizarrely demanded to know if men and women had equality in Australia.

An ex-Muslim from Bangladesh, Shakil Ahmed, attended the talk and later described his disgust with Hizb ut-Tahrir and Islamists, which orchestrated marches in his home country in 2013.

Islamists staged marches in the capital Dhaka after the murder of gay rights activists and atheist bloggers.

'Their primary demand was the death of apostates and blasphemers,' Mr Ahmed, 20,  told Daily Mail Australia.

He said it was depressing to hear Hizb ut-Tahrir voice their support for the killing of ex-Muslims in Australia. 

'What I felt instinctively is that the reason I left my country was so that I could escape from the exact same people that I found in that room,' he said.

As an ex-Muslim atheist in Bangladesh, he was discreet about his beliefs.

'Apart from a close circle of family and friends, we don't integrate with others as we don't know how they would react to our views,' he said.

Another Bangladeshi student Shubhajit Bhowmik also attended the lecture.

The Hindu blogger was on the same death list as atheist blogger Avajit Roy when he got hacked to death in 2015 in Dhaka for promoting secularism.

Farabi Shafiur Rahman, an extremist blogger and member of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Bangladesh was arrested in connection with Roy's murder.

'Once you escape from death, then you will hardly find things that will scare you,' Mr Bhowmik told Daily Mail Australia about seeing Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia leaders in the flesh. 

Another Islamist group of religious madrassah teachers, Hefazat e Islam, circulated hit lists of Bangladesh and emerged after Hizb ut-Tahrir was banned in 2009.

Like Hizb ut-Tahrir, they have campaigned in Bangladesh to dismantle parliamentary democracy, scrap aspects of the constitution that contradict sharia law and wind back women's rights.

The latest revelation about Hizb ut-Tahrir in Australia comes as Islamists in Pakistan take to social media to demand the killing of atheist blogger Ayaz Nizami.

He and two others were charged with blasphemy this week by a court in Islamabad and face the death penalty.

Hizb ut-Tahrir operates in 40 nations, including Australia and the United Kingdom, but is banned in Bangladesh along with other Muslim and Muslim-majority nations including Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.

Muslim cleric calls for beheading of Dutch politician

(Reuters) - A well-known Australian Muslim cleric has called for the beheading of Dutch anti-Islamic politician Geert Wilders, a newspaper said on Friday.

Wilders' Freedom Party scored the biggest gains in June 9 polls and is currently negotiating to form a new minority government with the Liberals and Christian Democrats. Polls show Wilders would win a new election if one were called now.

Wilders demanded to know why he had learnt about the threat from the newspaper and not from Dutch authorities who are guarding him after a film and remarks he made angered Muslims around the world.

De Telegraaf, the Netherlands' largest newspaper, led its front page on Friday with a story on the speech by Feiz Muhammad.

The Sydney-born Muhammad has gained notoriety for, among other things, calling on young children to be radicalized and blaming rape victims for their own attacks.

The paper posted an English-language audio clip in which he refers to Wilders as "this Satan, this devil, this politician in Holland" and explains that anyone who talks about Islam like Wilders does should be executed by beheading.

De Telegraaf did not say when the speech was given but said it and the Dutch secret service both had copies. According to his website, Muhammad is based in Malaysia.

Wilders told Reuters it was "really terrible news" and that he was taking it seriously.

"I will ask for clarification from the Dutch minister of interior/justice why the secret service and anti-terrorism unit NCTb have not informed me before and what the consequences will be for me," he said in an email.

A spokesman for the Dutch secret service referred inquiries on the threat to the NCTb. A spokeswoman for the NCTb was not available to comment.

Wilders is currently on trial in the Netherlands for inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.

The Freedom Party leader made a film in 2008 which accused the Koran of inciting violence and mixed images of terrorist attacks with quotations from the Islamic holy book.

Wilders was also charged because of outspoken remarks in the media, such as an opinion piece in a Dutch daily in which he compared Islam to fascism and the Koran to Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf."

Of late he has been in the news for plans to speak out against a planned mosque in New York City on September 11, the ninth anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

But his views have also made him extremely popular with a segment of the country uneasy about the Netherlands' commitment to multiculturalism.



Australian PM raps Muslim cleric over sex rights sermon

January 22, 2009

SYDNEY (AFP) — A Muslim cleric who reportedly said men have a right to force their wives to have sex and to hit them if they are disobedient has been condemned by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

"Under no circumstances is sexual violence permissible or acceptable in Australia," Rudd said after a newspaper reported cleric Samir Abu Hamza's comments in a sermon posted on the Internet.

"I would call upon this Islamic cleric to publicly apologise and repudiate his remarks."

The cleric said in his sermon, entitled "The keys to a successful marriage," that it was a man's right to demand sex from his wife whenever he felt like it, the Daily Telegraph reported.

"If the husband was to ask her for a sexual relationship and she is preparing the bread on the stove, she must leave it and come and respond to her husband, she must respond," Hamza was quoted as saying.

He reportedly scorned Australian laws which make it an offence for a man to force his wife to have sex, saying: "Amazing, how can a person rape his wife?"

Hamza also said Islamic law allowed men to hit their wives as a last resort but they should not bruise them or make them bleed, the paper reported.

Rudd said Australians would not accept any forms of violence against women, adding: "Nor are they acceptable in my view to mainstream Muslim teachings."

The Daily Telegraph said Hamza stood by his sermon, which was delivered in 2003 and posted on the Internet late last year.

However, Hamza said his remarks had been taken out of context, Islamic Council of Victoria state president Ramzi Elsayed told the national AAP news agency.

Islam did not condone violence against women or making a wife have sex with her husband against her will, Elsayed said.

At Hamza's Islamic Information and Service Network of Australasia in Melbourne a staff member said the cleric was on holiday for the next "couple of weeks".

A leading Islamic cleric, Sheikh Taj Aldin al-Hilali, was replaced as Mufti of Australia in 2007 after creating a storm of protest when he described scantily-dressed women as "uncovered meat" inviting rape.


Local Muslim clerics accused

Barney Zwartz

Fairfax Digital

November 21, 2008

Muslim religious leaders in Victoria are condoning rape within marriage, domestic violence, polygamy, welfare fraud and exploitation of women, according to an explosive report on the training of imams.

- Rape and violence condoned within marriage: report
- Study says Islamic law applied to benefit men
- Mufti of Australia denies claims

Women seeking divorces have also been told by imams that they must leave "with only the clothes on their back" and not seek support or a share of property because they can get welfare payments.

And the report says some imams knowingly perform polygamous marriages, also knowing that the second wife, a de facto under Australian law, can claim Centrelink payments.

The report is based on a study commissioned and funded by the former Howard government and conducted by the Islamic Women's Welfare Council of Victoria.

It was presented yesterday at a National Centre for Excellence in Islamic Studies conference at Melbourne University.

It is the result of extensive community consultation, interviews with police, lawyers, court workers and academics, and meetings with and questions to the Victorian Board of Imams.

The board's role is to provide an Islamic view and religious guidance to the community and represent it to the media. The report claims that the 24-man board ignored or did not directly answer many of the questions.

It says women, community and legal workers and police involved in the consultation were particularly concerned about domestic violence, and suggested that imams aimed to preserve the family at the cost of women.

When cases came to court they were often dropped after family and community elders pressured women to withdraw charges.

The report says some women who were legally separated but not religiously divorced had their husbands enter their houses, demand sexual intercourse and take it by force.

"Workers who have assisted women in this situation said that the advice women received from the imams was that it was "halal" — permitted — because there was a valid "nikah" — marriage," it says.

The report also cites sexual assault allegations connected with under-age marriages.

It says polygamy is steadily increasing and gaining acceptance among Melbourne Muslims, and Shepparton police report many "de facto" relationships that are really polygamous marriages.

"Community workers who have provided support to women whose husbands took another wife religiously said that women blame the availability of Centrelink benefits … since one or the other wife will be claiming it, relieving the husband of the responsibility of supporting two families," the report says.

Community members quoted in the report believe that imams' narrow religious training in an increasingly complex world, lack of life experience, poor English and lack of understanding of Australia create problems for the community. For example, ill-informed comment by imams drew a wedge between the mainstream and Muslim communities.

The report suggests the Muslim community believes many imams are ill-equipped for the role, which involves much higher expectations in Australia than in predominantly Muslim countries, including marriage counselling, pastoral and spiritual care, marriages and divorces.

"They come from their own little village and culture and say this is what Islam is," one woman is quoted saying. "They come from a village where there is no running water and electricity, and they bring their dark ideas into this country."

The secretary of the Board of Imams, Sheikh Fehmi Naji El-Imam, said he could not understand how the council could write such a report and denied the complaints "absolutely".

"They must have heard stories here and there and are writing about them as though they are fact," he said.

Sheikh Fehmi, who is also Mufti of Australia, said no authorised imam would conduct a polygamous marriage, and it was absolutely wrong that women's rights were ignored in marriage or divorce, or that imams ignored domestic violence.

"I haven't heard of any case where the board disregarded a woman or did not try to help her," he said.

Islamic women's council chairwoman Tasneem Chopra said: "We are hoping we can negotiate with the appropriate authorities a better outcome for women, whether through law reform or education.

"This is a crucial, necessary beginning but it is part of a much larger picture."


Jets didn't topple towers: cleric
Cameron Stewart

AUSTRALIA'S most radical Muslim group is promoting the bizarre conspiracy theory that planes did not destroy New York's World Trade Centre.

Instead, the prayer group run by controversial Melbourne cleric Sheik Mohammed Omran suggests the Twin Towers were destroyed by controlled explosions, presumably set off by agents of the US Government.

The radical theory has been given prominence in a newspaper, Mecca News, edited by Sheik Omran and published by his group, the Ahlus Sunnah Wal-Jamaah Association. The paper, which claims a readership of more than 10,000, is distributed around the country.

The story is the second part of a campaign to persuade local Muslims that the 9/11 attacks in 2001 were part of a US-inspired conspiracy. The paper last month promoted the theory that a plane did not crash into the Pentagon in the September 11 attacks and that the story was a major hoax.

In the October edition of Mecca News, published this week, the paper does not deny that planes crashed into New York's Twins Towers, but denies this is what caused them to collapse.

"The problem is that fire has never before caused steel-frame high-rise buildings to collapse, even when the fire was a very energetic one," says the paper, which devotes a page to supporting the conspiracy claims made by a US author, David Ray Griffin.

It asks why a third building, not hit by planes, collapsed next to the Twin Towers when the building had fires on only two of its 47 floors. The article suggests all the buildings were brought down by controlled explosions.

"If explosions had been used to break the steel columns, these columns would have had telltale signs of the impact of these explosions," the newspaper says.

"Virtually all of the steel was quickly removed from the scene, before any forensic examination could be carried out, then sold to scrap dealers and exported to other countries.

"Generally, removing any evidence from the scene of a crime is a federal offence, but in this case the FBI allowed this removal to go ahead."

The article does not explain who might have set off such controlled explosions or why. However, Mecca News has previously implied that the 9/11 attacks were a massive US-inspired conspiracy, so the paper effectively invites readers to conclude that US authorities, not Islamic terrorists, were to blame.

The paper has defiantly pledged to continue its 9/11 conspiracy series next month, despite an angry response to the provocative campaign from moderate Muslims and non-Muslims.

The newspaper last month credited its editor-in-chief, Sheik Omran, with "breaking the ice" by raising questions in Australia about who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

The public campaign on the 9/11 conspiracies comes despite calls from John Howard and moderate Muslim officials for Islamic leaders to avoid inflammatory comments on terrorism.

The paper's campaign has sparked a mixed response from readers. "I implore you to keep up this line of questioning - you're the only ones with an ounce of sense," one reader writes to the editor.

But another writes: "I find your comments about 9/11 repulsive and ignorant to our way of life ... You, sir, should be deported to Afghanistan or some sandy desert."


A call to hate and to prayer

The Australian

Support for holy war is being urged by Muslim preachers spreading their message in Australia, reports Richard Kerbaj, who visited mosques and heard voices shrieking with angst and passion


A VOICE explodes through the speakers at Lakemba's nondescript Haldon Street prayer hall in Sydney's southwest during a Friday qutbah (sermon). About 400 men - Saudis, Indonesians, Somalis and Lebanese among them - are huddled shoulder to shoulder, seated or kneeling on the floor of the hall, above a gym. A few stare blankly ahead, others have their eyes shut and faces cupped with their palms, almost in a trance-like, meditative state.

It's October 21, the middle of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, and Sheik Abdul Salam Mohammed Zoud, who has been living in Australia since the mid-1990s, stands on a platform at the front of the room reading his sermon in Arabic.

"Ramadan is not a month for indolence," he screams through a lapel microphone, drawing on Koranic parables about the importance of annihilating al-adou (the enemy) and stressing the Koranic obligation of jihad (spiritual struggle or holy war) during the month of fasting. His voice can be heard clearly in the car park outside.

"Ramadan is a month for jihad upon oneself and jihad upon the enemy," he says, a time when followers must become more disciplined in adhering to the message of the Koran, and more willing and prepared to topple the enemy of Islam: the West.

Listeners nod approvingly as Zoud praises mujaheddin - guerilla warriors engaged in holy war - who are waging bloody battles against Western troops across the world, and implores Allah to grant them victory in their fight against the enemies of Islam.

"Allah yinsur el-mujaheddin fe-Iraq (God grant victory to the mujaheddin in Iraq)," he screams, his voice crackling as he defies his own vocal range. He then repeats the message three times, each time screaming it louder and with more intensely.

Twice at the end of the 35-minute oration in front of the men, who are mostly in their 30s and 40s, the sheik exclaims in a voice filled with angst and passion, blame and hate: "Inshallah (God willing) dark days will descend upon America soon."

Two Fridays earlier, at a prayer centre at Michael Street in Brunswick, Melbourne's Muslim heartland, the man regarded as Australia's most radical imam, Sheik Mohammed Omran, stands before his mixed band of followers.

Earlier, the men had left their shoes in the corridor and walked into the room. On entering the mussalah, they're greeted by whoever they make eye contact with.

"Assalam alaikum" (peace be with you) is acknowledged by the person being greeted with "Wa-alaikum assalam" (peace be with you too). An A4-sized piece of paper on the wall reminds attendees to switch off their mobile phones.

Some kneel and pray, others grab a copy of the Koran off the bookshelf at the back of the room, and read it quietly.

Off-duty taxi drivers, suited businessmen on their lunch breaks and youngsters wearing baseball caps and tracksuits sit among the traditionally clad listeners wearing dishdashas (gowns) and sporting beards. Several Western converts, with fair hair and blue eyes stare at Omran, listening intently. While the 150 or so men watch the sheik, who stands on an elevated podium, hands gripping a railing, delivering a qutbah, women sit in a room adjacent, listening through a speaker.

In the week following the second Bali attacks, Omran's Friday sermon, conducted in Arabic and English, talks about the fear Westerners have of Ramadan, as history has shown an increase in militant insurgencies and attacks across the world during that month. "The West know the meaning of Ramadan more than we do it seems," says the imam, who migrated from Jordan in the 1980s. "They fear the worst: unity. So what are we doing to unite and defeat evil?"

He says Islamic unity and victory in the face of the West cannot be "stopped by George Bush or Tony Blair or John Howard".

"If you don't unite, your faces will be smeared in dirt," he adds.

Both Zoud's and Omran's prayer groups teach Wahhabism, a fundamentalist branch of Islam founded in Saudi Arabia in the 1700s that inspired the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan and is preached by the world's most notorious terrorist: Osama bin Laden, leader of al-Qa'ida.

Yet the voices of such home-based extremists by no means define the majority of Islamic messages being preached by Muslim clerics across the country.

Sheik Fehmi Naji al-Imam, one of Australia's most prominent Muslim leaders and the head of the Preston Mosque, Victoria's largest mosque in Melbourne's inner-north, isn't discussing politics during a Friday sermon last month. Instead, he is leading a group of more than 50 men through an Arabic prayer from the Koran. On completion, he sits at the front of the room and faces his followers.

A junior cleric then sits beside Naji al-Imam and discusses the importance of praying to God and of not feeling a sense of helplessness or hopelessness should one suspect their personal prayer is not being answered.

The cleric says people are often disappointed when their prayers for more financial wealth don't come to fruition.

"You might pray for thousands of dollars and feel like your prayers aren't being answered," he says in Arabic. "But what you've got to remember is he might have saved you from a car accident and [thus] saved you $10,000."

Zoud has formerly been accused of having links to terror suspects and recruiting for jihad. And although he has denied such accusations, he cannot deny the fact his prayer centre, located in Sydney's Muslim heartland, has attracted terror suspects, including Frenchman Willie Brigitte, arrested and deported to Paris in 2003 for allegedly plotting a bomb attack on Sydney's naval base; and former Qantas baggage handler Bilal Khazal, who is facing terrorism-related charges in Australia.

Friday sermons at the Haldon Street and Michael Street prayer centres are predominantly geared towards political issues affecting Muslims across the world. The US and President George W. Bush figure prominently in Zoud's and Omran's sermons.

"Last night, President Bush said that the so-called fanatic Muslims would like to build an empire reaching from Indonesia to Spain," Omran said during his October 7 sermon. "And he has not said anything as truer or more accurate. What is wrong with doing that? ... What are we doing to achieve that objective?"

Omran's call to action goes even further during a Friday sermon at Michael Street conducted the following week by Harun Abu Talha, news editor of Mecca News, published by the Ahlus Sunnah Wal-Jamaah organisation led by Omran.

During the predominantly English qutbah, the cleric says: "We should not compromise our deen [religion] for the sake of peace." It is a message greeted by collective nods from a group of more than 100 men, many of whom were present at Omran's sermon the previous Friday.

Abu Talha discusses the injustices and human rights violations taking place at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp where "so-called terrorists" are detained.

"They lock up these so-called [Muslim] terrorists in subhuman conditions," he says. "You wouldn't even keep an animal like that." He urges listeners to "raise your voices" against those who "criticise your deen [religion]".

"They criticise and ridicule our religion and have been doing so for a very long time."

While Naji al-Imam's service is purely religious, Abu Talha, who is believed to be Bosnian, discusses "our brothers and sisters" who are dying at the hands of Western troops in Afghanistan and begins to discuss the importance of jihad before quipping: "We cannot say too much about mujaheddin in this country." The joke elicits sniggers and laughter from the group.

Outside Sydney's largest mosque, the Lakemba Mosque in Wangee Road, which is known for its moderate preachings, a man in his late 20s is walking to his car following the Friday prayer. He opens his car boot and grabs a handful of promotional leaflets about Ramadan. Asked about his thoughts on extremist Muslims ruining the image of Islam, he says: "You got all kinds of Muslim here [in Sydney]. But it's always the few extreme ones who ruin it for the majority, brother."


Australia police say Muslim cleric led attack plot

08 Nov 2005

CANBERRA, Nov 8 (Reuters) - An Australian Muslim cleric who said Osama bin Laden was a "great man" has been named by police as the spiritual leader of a group of 16 men charged on Tuesday with planning a terrorist attack in Australia.

Abdul Nacer Benbrika, also known as Abu Bakr, has long been monitored by Australian authorities and grabbed headlines in August after he praised bin Laden, blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

He is a self-styled leader of a fundamentalist Islamic group of young followers in the suburbs of Australia's second-biggest city, Melbourne. Some of these followers, local radio reported, attended militant training camps in Asia.

"Osama Bin Laden, he is a great man," Benbrika, 45, told Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) radio in August.

Following police raids in Sydney and Melbourne on Tuesday, Benbrika was charged with directing the activities of a terrorist organisation and remanded in custody until January.

Benbrika's passport was confiscated in March on advice from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, which then raided his Melbourne home in June, ABC radio has reported.

But Benbrika, a dual Australian/Algerian citizen who has at least six children and has lived in Melbourne since 1989, denied he was a security threat.

"I am not involved in anything here. I am teaching my brothers here the Koran and the Sunna, and I am trying my best to keep myself, my family, my kids and the Muslims close to this religion," he told the ABC, referring to the holy book and the code of conduct for Muslims.

Benbrika said he opposed anyone trying to harm his religion. He also said it was a "big problem" for Muslims reconciling their religion with life in Australia.

"There are two laws. There is Australian law. There is Islamic law," he said, adding the only law that needed to be spread was Islam.

"Jihad is part of my religion, and what you have to understand that anyone who fights for the sake of Allah ... (with) the first drop of blood that comes from him out, all his sin will be forgiven," he said.

Other Australian Muslim leaders have said Benbrika represented a minority view, and Prime Minister John Howard did not invite Benbrika to a summit of key Muslim leaders in August.


Cleric has been closely watched

(CNN) -- One of the people arrested in anti-terrorism raids Tuesday in Australia is outspoken Muslim cleric Abu Bakr, also known as Abdul Nacer Benbrika.

Bakr has been the subject of intense scrutiny by Australian security and intelligence services for some time, most recently following public comments made in August in support of Al Qaeda mastermind Osama Bin Laden.

"Osama bin Laden, he is a great man," Bakr said then during an interview on Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.

Australian media also have reported that some of the followers of Bakr's Melbourne-based fundamentalist Islamic group have attended terror training camps in Afghanistan.

According to media reports, Bakr had his passport removed in March by the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) because "he was likely to prejudice the security of Australia or a foreign country" if he traveled overseas.

He also was the subject of two ASIO raids in June, ABC radio reported.

Bakr, 45, is a dual Algerian and Australian citizen who has lived in Melbourne's northern suburbs since 1989.

Melbourne is Australia's second-largest city and is the capital of the southern state of Victoria.

Among the ASIO concerns over Bakr's beliefs are his alleged support for the right of Australians to engage in militant jihad overseas and his adherence to Islamic law over Australian law.

In his ABC radio interview Bakr denied he was a threat, saying he was being targeted because of his strong Islamic views.

"I am not involved in anything here. I am teaching my brothers here the Koran and the Sunna, and I am trying my best to keep myself, my family, my kids and the Muslims close to this religion," he said.

But he also said he could not discourage those who wished to fight overseas "because Jihad is part of my religion," and to do so would betray those beliefs.

"I am telling you that my religion doesn't tolerate other religion. It doesn't tolerate. The only one law which needs to spread, it can be here or anywhere else, has to be Islam," he said.


Islamic preachers drive the poisoning of young minds

By Miranda Devine
November 13, 2005

In the wake of last week's counter-terrorism raids, Treasurer Peter Costello declared: "We will never be an Islamic state. We will never observe sharia law . . . We will always be a democracy."

Islamic extremists should leave Australia if they oppose a "secular state with a democratic system and independent courts - and equality for women".

It seemed a reasonable, refreshingly unambiguous statement, echoing the sentiments of most Australians, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Yet it was condemned as "unjustified, unacceptable and hatred-instigating" by the Lebanese Muslim Association.

How so? It should not instigate hatred to assert that the Australian democratic way of life is preferable to Australians than some form of rule alien to our culture and values.

But the reaction of the Lebanese Muslim Association reflects a worrying mindset, a sense of grievance and entitlement influenced by a hard-core generation of fundamentalist Muslim preachers, some of whom are associated with a number of the 18 men arrested last week.

Their aim is to enforce a fundamentalist line incompatible with Australian life. Some, like Sheik Faiz Mohamad of the Global Islamic Youth Centre in Liverpool, have preached that women who are raped are at fault if they dress immodestly. "A victim of rape every minute somewhere in the world. Why? No one to blame but herself," he told more than 1000 people at the Bankstown Town Hall in April.

Others, like the firebrand American preacher Khalid Yasin, who visits Australia regularly, warn about associating with non-Muslims - "there's no such thing as a Muslim having a non-Muslim friend". Yasin has declared homosexuality punishable by death and described suicide bombing as understandable "in the context of perpetuated protracted oppression" of Muslims.

The fundamentalists are marginalised by established Muslim leaders but appear to have a following among young radicalised Australian-born Muslims.

One western-Sydney group, Hizb ut-Tahrir (party of liberation), which has been described as a "conveyor belt for terrorists" and is banned in some countries, preaches a vision of a pan-Islamic state under sharia law.

The group has twice been invited to speak at Sydney Boys High in the past three years, according to ABC TV's 7.30 Report.

In August, Hizb ut-Tahrir organiser Soadad Doureihi gave a lecture at Sydney University during Islamic Awareness Week.

It was entitled "Combating Terror" but the "terror" was not of the al-Qaeda variety; it was the state-sponsored "terrorism" of Western colonialists through the ages.

I have heard a tape of the lecture in which Doureihi claims Australian Muslims are being forced to assimilate, as part of the "war against Islam".

"We do not have to adopt beliefs, ideals and sentiments of a society. We are not and cannot be forced to adopt a different belief or value system . . . It is the battle of ideas, the battle of hearts and minds of the people: this is what this war is all about."

He described Australia as a racist society whose people, "expect not to pay a price for what they do".

He cheered the "Islamic revival you see among the youth . . . They are educated [and] hold our Islam identity very dear. Yet we want to propagate it to other people, other cultures [and] we are refused or denied . . . through an opponent who doesn't want to engage in discussion [but uses] the bully tactic of 'shut up, I'll put you in jail, I'll raid your house, I'll intimidate you even further'."

He spoke of ancient grievances, of Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Bosnia. Western nations "light a fire in Muslim lands and stand back and hope no spark lands on their shores . . . Millions of people have been slaughtered at the hands of Britain, Europe, America, yet 56 or 57, 58 people in London saw what this meant. [Then] we saw the world stand up and say this is an attack on Western values but the reality is . . . there is an injustice. You cannot hope to create so much chaos and anarchy in lands [and think] no price will ever have to be paid by society."

Noam Chomsky couldn't have put it better. This poisoning of young minds, the sense of historic victimhood and alienation, is daily fuelled by the self-loathing cultural relativists of the Western intellectual establishment. The only obvious antidote is to embrace the vast bulk of moderate Muslims, and to speak plainly to the rest, as Costello has.


Australia To Track Muslim Clerics

SYDNEY, Australia, Dec. 27, 2005

(AP) Islamic clerics in Australia will be required to register and adhere to a code of conduct, a council of moderate Muslims announced Tuesday, amid efforts to rein in radical preachers following the London bombings.

The Muslim Advisory Council, which comprises 14 Islamic community leaders hand-picked by Prime Minister John Howard to help authorities counter the rise of Islamic extremism, will meet next month to discuss drafting the imams' code, council member Yasser Soliman said.

"We're trying to put together some sort of guidelines about who can become a cleric," Soliman told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. "The guidelines are in response to suggestions by the community and clerics ... there are people who are appointing themselves as clerics when they're really just backyard clerics and unqualified."

Radical Muslim cleric Sheik Mohammed Omran who has preached that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is a great man who played no part in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in the United States reacted angrily to the council's move.

"They don't have authority; they don't have the power; they don't have any license to talk about that (registering clerics)," Omran told The Australian newspaper in an interview published Tuesday.

Soliman agreed the council had no power to enforce the code of conduct or force clerics to register, but he predicted that only five or six clerics would refuse to register.

"They'll be identified as not plugging into the mainstream and not representing the community," Soliman said. "At this stage, there's a big fog about where they fit in."

Soliman said the guidelines will be helpful for clerics from overseas.

"Clerics coming from overseas especially would benefit from understanding the politics of the country, the political system, the language if they're not very fluent in English," Soliman said. "It's important that any gaps be identified. It's not something that should come across as being an insult."

Howard established the Muslim Advisory Council after the July 7 London bombings killed 52 people, highlighting the risk of homegrown terrorists in Britain.

The prime minister has criticized Australia's Islamic leaders for failing to speak out against radical preachers.

But Howard in turn has come under criticism for excluding radical Muslims from his council and for failing to acknowledge the role that Australia's involvement in the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq has in radicalizing young Muslims.

Australian authorities launched their largest ever counterterrorism crackdown on Nov. 8, arresting 18 Muslims in coordinated pre-dawn raids in Melbourne and Sydney in an operation police said headed off a catastrophic terror attack, possibly targeting a nuclear reactor in southern Sydney.


Imams 'condone domestic violence'

January 30, 2006

THE nation's most senior Islamic woman has attacked Muslim religious leaders who condone "wife-beating" and other forms of domestic violence.

Aziza Abdel-Halim, the only female member of the Prime Minister's Muslim Advisory Council, has warned that Islamic women are being "put down" by imams in hardline and moderate circles and their rights ignored.

"Women have suffered from sometimes ill-informed imams ... who have tried to put down women and negate some of their rights or activities," she said yesterday.

"And some of them (imams) have condoned men beating women, which is un-Islamic."

The comments, unusually outspoken for a female Muslim leader, have surfaced amid concerns that no female community representatives had been invited to the coming national imams conference in Sydney.

The conference is likely to see moderate spiritual leaders attempt to crack down on radical clerics and their extremist views and to develop a national board of imams. It is also likely to consider a code of behaviour for the country's imams.

The meeting will be attended by 10 community representatives and 62 imams, including firebrand cleric Mohammed Omran, who has come under fire from the federal Government and moderate Muslim leaders for espousing radical views, including that al-Qa'ida leader Osama bin Laden is not a terrorist but a "good man".

Fellow radical spiritual leaders Abdul Salam Mohammad Zoud and Faiz Mohamad have also been invited.

Sister Abdel-Halim, who is president of the Muslim Women's National Network Australia, said the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, the conference host, was being "unjust" by not inviting female community representatives to attend.

"Women are half of the community and they bring up the other half, so you shouldn't really exclude them from anything," she said. "There should be some women observers who have a background in ... Islamic studies, and these women will represent the women within the community and should have an input."

She said the women may "raise a few points of concern that the imams may not be aware of or may be aware of and may be reluctant to address".

Sister Abdel-Halim's comments about cruelty towards Muslim women were backed by Jamila Hussain, a lecturer in Islamic law at the University of Technology Sydney, who said many imams were out of touch with the issues concerning Muslim women.

She worried that some spiritual leaders were indifferent to the cruelty being experienced by some women at the hands of aggressive partners.

"We don't know what imams are telling the men," Ms Hussain said. "Are they taking a stand, for example, against domestic violence? They should be, but we don't know whether they are or not. We suspect some are but probably the majority are not."

Sister Abdel-Halim told The Australian that "imams wield a great deal of power over the community".

"When people go to congregation, the imam for them is the source of religious knowledge and what he says to a lot of them is indisputable," she said.

She said that along with the imams who would be present at the conference, both male and female academics and youth leaders should also be invited to share their views.

She said she thought the AFIC board of executives "find educated women very threatening because women are ... very good community organisers and high achievers when it comes to (setting up initiatives)".

The federation has recently come under attack from community youth representatives and other Muslim leaders for not being representative of the Islamic community in Australia.

The Australian's phone calls to the federation yesterday were not returned.


Clerics 'teach secret jihad'

Natalie O'Brien and Tracy Ong

September 18, 2006

ISLAMIC clerics in Sydney and Melbourne are using covert tactics to preach martyrdom and jihad to young followers, recruiting them under the guise of classes teaching the Koran.

Singapore-based terrorism analyst Rohan Gunaratna told The Australian that despite their denials and stronger terror laws, religious leaders in the two cities continued to preach violence to impressionable followers, though they now did it away from their mainstream teachings. He said the clerics' influence on young believers increased the risk of a terrorist attack in Australia. "We have seen a number of Australian clerics preaching jihad and martyrdom," Dr Gunaratna said.

"The most likely form of attack in Australia is a suicide attack for jihad. You will need to make arrests in time."

Clive Williams, who runs a terrorism and counter-terrorism program at the Australian Defence Force Academy, said young Muslims were being recruited for jihad through "Koran classes". "They are doing it differently now," he said.

Sheik Omran said terrorism experts made their living from the counter-terrorism industry and it was in their interests to keep the threat going.

Muslim Community Service of Western Australia chairman Sheik Mahmoud Omran said if anybody had evidence they should put up or shut up.

The claims came as the inaugural Conference of Australian Imams wound up in Sydney yesterday. About 100 Muslim leaders attended the two-day conference, which was hosted by the federal Government's Muslim Reference Group.

Parliamentary Secretary on Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Robb told the conference that imams could play a significant role in minimising the opportunities for extremists to influence vulnerable youth, by speaking English.

"It seems to me that they must be preaching in English if the young people in their communities can understand Islam in an Australian context," he said.

A communique issued at the end of the conference said the imams condemned all forms of terrorism, hatred and extremism in the past and would continue to do so.

It was also agreed that religious leaders should have effective communication skills, including tuition in English with the aim of having sermons delivered entirely in English.

They called for religious leaders to get a broader knowledge of Australian society, culture, the legal system and politics and for the training of a new generation of Australian-born imams.

The group also revealed plans to establish a national centre for excellence in Islamic studies that would be open both to Muslim and non-Muslim students, and a national board of the Islamic religion and community to deal with religious issues that could represent the communities at a national level.


Cleric linked to terror groups

By Jim Dickens and Glenn Milne

October 29, 2006

Sunday Telegraph

ASIO warned authorities 20 years ago that Sheik Taj al-Din Al-hilaly could inflame communal violence in Australia.

Court judgments show ASIO initially believed the controversial mufti posed a risk to the community because of his alleged propensity to cause or promote violence.

Shortly after his arrival in Australia as the new imam of Lakemba Mosque in 1982, Sheik Hilaly was also linked with a shadowy terrorist group, Soldiers of God, which is thought to have been involved in the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981.

A group of the same name, also known as Ansar al Islam, is among those listed by the Federal Government as a banned terrorist organisation.

Western governments believe Ansar al Islam has close ideological and operational links with al-Qaeda.

Sheik Hilaly was also alleged to have endorsed suicide bombing, verbally attacked women and preached a highly political message of extremism.

The Sunday Telegraph columnist Piers Akerman writes today that a former intelligence officer said Sheik Hilaly's name first surfaced in a report by one of Australia's most senior intelligence assets in Cairo. The claimed the sheik spent a number of years training in Libya and was sent to Australia to train extremists.

Akerman writes the report was shelved and the agent who sent it believes that a campaign was waged against its contents.

The pressure on Sheik Hilaly grew yesterday, with Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs Andrew Robb saying it was time for him to heed the wishes of moderate Muslims and resign.

He also questioned the sincerity of his apology for comments comparing women to uncovered meat and blaming them for rape.

"The body language of the apology was totally unconvincing," Mr Robb said.

"He's condoned violence against women and snubbed his nose at ... every section of the community."


Muslim cleric urges children to be martyrs

Australian calls Jews pigs, sparks controversy with his 'Death Series' DVDs

Jan 19, 2007

SYDNEY, Australia - An Australian Muslim cleric has urged children to be martyrs for Islam and referred to Jews as pigs in a series of DVDs, sparking condemnation by the government and further straining tensions with the nation’s Muslims.

Sheik Feiz Mohammed, head of the Global Islamic Youth Center in Sydney’s western suburbs, is the second cleric to inflame anti-Muslim sentiment in Australia with controversial comments.

Sheikh Taj El-Din Hilaly, the imam of Australia’s biggest mosque, was accused of justifying rape in November after a Ramadan sermon in which he said unveiled women were like uncovered meat.

Australian media said Feiz has lived in Lebanon for the past year and that his “Death Series” DVDs were made public by a British documentary this week called “Undercover Mosque”.

“We want to have children and offer them as soldiers defending Islam,” said Feiz in the video, reported Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

“Teach them this: There is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a mujahid. Put in their soft, tender hearts the zeal of jihad and a love of martyrdom,” he said.

The paper also said Feiz had insulted Jews, referring to them as pigs.

Feiz has a series of video clips on in which he also calls for jihad and praises martyrdom.

The Australian government and ethnic leaders, including Muslims, condemned Feiz’s comments on Thursday.

“The importation of hatred into Australia is totally unacceptable,” acting Attorney-General Kevin Andrews told reporters. “These remarks and the others before them are condemned by the government.”

'Hate speech' condemned

Australia’s ethnic leaders called for Feiz to face possible racial hatred charged for his speeches, which were published in part by Australian newspapers on Thursday.

“Hate speech such as these remarks by Sheik Mohammed has no place in Australian society and must be vigorously condemned by all,” said Vic Alhadeff, chief executive of Jewish Board of Deputies in the state of New South Wales.

Community Relations Commission chairman Stepan Kerkyasharian called for the sheik to face possible race hate charges.

“The federal prosecutor should really have a close look at what is being conveyed by this guy and whether it is in breach of any laws and he should be charged,” Kerkyasharian told radio.

Islamic Friendship Association spokesman Kaysar Trad said the comments did not reflect the sentiments of Australian Muslims.

“As a community, it is quite disconcerting for us that these comments are found from time to time and they’re broadcast all over the news,” said Trad. “They certainly give the public an erroneous impression about Islam and Muslims.”

Last week Hilaly, who left Australia for the Middle East after his controversial remarks, told Egyptian television that white Australians were liars and that Muslims were more entitled to be in Australia than those with a convict heritage.

Muslims have been in Australia for more than 200 years, initially arriving as camel drivers to help open up the vast outback. Today there are about 280,000 Muslims in the 20 million population, living predominately in Sydney and Melbourne.

“We have had repeated remarks made by the most senior Islamic cleric in Australia. We have these latest remarks. There is this pattern of behavior which is very concerning to the government,” said Andrews.

Cleric probed over tax avoidance

March 19, 2007

Fairfax Digital

A senior Muslim cleric who works for the tax office in Canberra is under investigation over allegations of tax avoidance.

Palestinian-born imam Mohammad Swaiti has been accused by senior Muslim leaders of failing to pay income tax on thousands of dollars he allegedly received from the Saudi government, The Australian reported.

Documents obtained by the newspaper show the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is investigating allegations that Sheik Swaiti failed to declare his clerical allowance of up to $37,700 a year, paid to him by the Saudi government.

An ACT Islamic association has also accused the sheik of holding radical views, the paper said.

The claims follow in the wake of a report last week which revealed hardline clerics were encouraging Muslims not to pay tax because it was contrary to sharia law, the paper said.

Sheik Swaiti refused to comment on the investigation or the accusations.

"God is watching but let them do what they want," he told The Australian in Arabic.

"Even if they accuse me of murder, I will not comment. You should not take any rubbish from anyone."

The ATO would not comment on the investigation.


Australian Muslims endorse controversial cleric

Muslim World News

Sydney, March 25 (DPA) A Muslim cleric who whipped up a storm last year when he told his Sydney flock that women who don't wear the veil invite rape has been endorsed as the supreme leader of Australia's 300,000 Muslims.

Clerics from around the country meeting in Sydney decided Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, 67, should keep the post of Mufti of Australia that he has held since 1988.

Prime Minister John Howard last year urged Muslims to dump al- Hilali, as did New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma.

Earlier this year al-Hilali raised the ire of Australians when he said Muslim migrants had a greater entitlement to the country than those who arrived at the time of colonial settlement.

"We came as free people, we bought our own tickets, we are entitled to Australia more than they are," al-Hilali told a television station in his native Egypt.

Howard called on Muslims to show a willingness to join the mainstream by ditching their controversial leader.

Al-Hilali, an Australian citizen, has been censured before for his extremist views and each time the Muslim community has closed ranks behind him.

He made international headlines when he told the congregation at Sydney's largest mosque that a woman in revealing clothes was herself to blame for sexual assault "because if she hadn't left the meat uncovered the cat wouldn't have snatched it."

After the remarks, 34 Muslim community organizations signed a petition urging al-Hilali to defy calls for him to stand down.

Al-Hilali has denied the Holocaust, defended suicide bombers, described as "God's work against oppressors" the 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, and blamed Jews for "all the wars and problems that threaten the peace and stability of all the world."

Speaking after the cat comments, Treasurer Peter Costello, deputy leader of the ruling Liberal Party, demanded that Muslims respond to public outrage and denounce al-Hilali.

"You go right through the decade, the sheik has been anti-Semitic, he has supported jihadists, he has made statements that are absolutely offensive to women, such as the 'uncovered meat' one - it wasn't just that he had a bad day last September," Costello said.

The show of support for al-Hilali is likely to draw further demands that Australian Muslims reaffirm their commitment to democracy, freedom of religion and the rule of law.